Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations BMJ Confidential

Des Spence: Narcissistic, bossy, opinionated

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 16 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2569


Des Spence, 47, is a Glasgow GP and a former columnist for The BMJ, where his views were provocative and cogently expressed. He has little time for healthy diets, screening, or health checks, saying that well meaning advice from doctors to do this or avoid that can leave patients “more paranoid than Mr and Mrs Paranoid of Paranoid Avenue.” His aim is to skewer “bad medicine”—a target so large, and expanding so quickly, that it urgently needs to have a sharp point inserted to deflate its pretensions. Spence, who would be happy to oblige, is currently working on a book provisionally titled Bad Medicine Uncut.

What was your earliest ambition?

To become a world surfing champion. Or to be adopted by Bobby and Pam Ewing in Dallas. Or to jump the Grand Canyon on a motorbike or marry Marie Osmond. I haven’t achieved any of these ambitions yet, but I might try the canyon jump in my 80s.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

The ordinary, the dedicated, the generous, the kind, …

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